ROT­TEN POTA­TOES

Tara Brady on the idio­syn­cra­sies of the Ir­ish box of­fice

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - OPINION -

It’s here – the only chart of 2012 that really mat­ters: the top 10 films at the Ir­ish box of­fice. To the sur­prise of ab­so­lutely no one, the run­down – give or take a cou­ple thou here and there – looks like this: 1. Sky­fall ¤5.8 mil­lion cu­mu­la­tive 2. The Dark Knight Rises ¤5.3 mil­lion 3. Ted ¤4.1 mil­lion 4. Marvel Avengers As­sem­ble ¤3.8 mil­lion 5. Ice Age: Con­ti­nen­tal Drift ¤2.7 mil­lion 6. The Twi­light Saga: Break­ing Dawn – Part 2 ¤2.5 mil­lion cu­mu­la­tive 7. Taken 2 ¤2.4 mil­lion 8. The Amaz­ing Spi­der-Man ¤2.3 mil­lion 9. The Hunger Games ¤2.28 mil­lion 10. The Mup­pets ¤2.05 mil­lion

So what have we learned this year? Bond is big but not quite as pop­u­lar as he is on his home turf, where the 50-year-old fran­chise has bro­ken all known records. Su­per­hero movies are shock­ingly big here and ev­ery­where else. And Seth Macfarlane is dis­pro­por­tion­ately big in the ROI.

So that’s that. We can all go home now.

As if. You may have al­ready noted the ap­pear­ance of the word “cu­mu­la­tive” twice in the fi­nal chart. Sky­fall and Twi­light are still out there, rak­ing in money and scup­per­ing any chance we might have had for a fes­tive break from box-of­fice watch­ing. Best guess says that Twi­light will leapfrog over Ice Age to nab the fifth spot in the chart.

And then there’s The Hob­bit: An Un­ex­pected Jour­ney. With an es­ti­mated world­wide take of $223 mil­lion last week­end (in­clud­ing ¤767,862 in the ROI), there’s a strong pos­si­bil­ity that Mid­dleearth will edge out The Mup­pets by the close of play this year. This will re­quire stay­ing power and trac­tion up­wards and be­yond the usual healthy 50 per cent week­end-to-week­end drop. But with 66 screens in play and no com­peti­tor in sight, it would be hard for The Hob­bit not to sail past the ¤2 mil­lion mark here.

Out in the wider global mar­ket, it seems most un­likely that Peter Jack­son’s epic will over­take Re­turn of the King’s $742 mil­lion Rest of World tally. Sig­nif­i­cantly, The Hob­bit missed the $100-mil­lion mark State­side. The film’s $84.6 mil­lion take fell slightly short of in­dus­try es­ti­mates. But then, that’s what they said about Avatar.

Mean­while, down the Ir­ish chart, an ap­palling lack of op­tions for kids and fam­i­lies has al­lowed the abysmal Na­tiv­ity 2 to edge to­ward ¤306,312. No won­der Rise of the Guardians con­tin­ued to kick arse with a run­ning to­tal of ¤725,062 from the sec­ond spot last week­end.

Seven Psy­chopaths con­tin­ues to poll well in third, with ¤435,285 over two weeks. Still, the same ti­tle might have prof­ited from an Au­gust re­lease, es­pe­cially if rolled out in the spot once oc­cu­pied by The Guard. Can it hang on against the in­com­ing come­dies Pitch Per­fect and Parental Guid­ance? Or will Martin McDonagh’s lat­est get lost in the Christ­mas crush? We’ll tell you in Jan­uary.

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